Suffering is one cost of obedience to the Lord’s call. Not all of us will be martyrs for Jesus Christ. Not all of us will be persecuted for our faith in Jesus Christ. But we can suffer as we do obey what the Lord tells us to do.
We find our lives are no longer our own when we say “Yes” to Jesus. We realize that Israel had to acquiesce to the Lord. After Joseph had been in Egypt for many years and the famine was taking a toll on Canaan, Israel’s remaining sons went to Egypt. When Joseph required Benjamin to come to Egypt, Israel realized he might have to grieve more (Genesis 43:14). In a sense, Israel suffered for obeying the call of the Lord. If Israel had not suffered, then he wouldn’t have seen his son Joseph ever again.
Eli was one who reluctantly turned to the Lord. Eli was the priest of the Lord at Shiloh. Things were turning bad for Eli’s sons and the future of his family being priests was in jeopardy. Samuel was hearing someone call his name. So he went to Eli. Eli sent him back to bed. On the third time, Eli told Samuel, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him” (1 Samuel 3:18). Samuel did just that. Eli faded out of the picture and Samuel grew up with the Lord being with him. If Eli had not suffered Samuel’s pestering, then Samuel may have missed out on hearing the Lord.
Jesus turned to the Lord’s call. Jesus came to this world to die to take away our sins. Leading up to that moment on the cross, Jesus was on the Mount of Olives praying. Jesus could have called a legion of angels to protect him. But he did not. Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Since Jesus suffered, we have a way to get to be with God.
As we follow Jesus to God, are we ready to be obedient to the Lord’s call? We soon discover that suffering is one cost of obedience to the Lord’s call. It turns out, no matter what happen, will we be able to say: “The Lord’s will be done.” For this is the statement made by Paul’s companions.
A. What brought Paul’s companions to say, “The Lord’s will be done”?
1. The Holy Spirit directed the disciples in Tyre to tell Paul to go to Jerusalem (21:4)
2. While in Caesarea, Agabus prophecies to Paul about what will happen to him
3. Paul’s response: “For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (We know Paul dies in Rome)
4. How can we react to this statement?
5. Paul’s companions stated: “The Lord’s will be done.”
6. They recognized Paul as determined to go to Jerusalem. But they also saw deeper into Paul’s words. Paul was determined to give his life for the name of the Lord. Dying for the Lord Jesus was not out of the realm of possibilities for Paul. It was Paul’s obedience to the Lord Jesus which would show Paul’s determination. I wonder if the same thing could be said for us.
B. What brings us to say about anyone, “The Lord’s will be done”?
1. Whether it is someone like Agabus or Philip’s daughters, if someone prophecies about our life, would we be willing to follow the prophecy to the end?
2. Are we determined to be obedient to the Lord’s call upon our lives?
3. Is it possible for people to persuade us not to follow the Lord Jesus?
4. Would we be willing to suffer because we don’t give into such persuasion?
5. It would be good to see my ministry accented with people saying, “The Lord’s will be done.” I want that determination Paul had, to live and die for the Lord Jesus. What about you, do you want Paul’s determination? If you do have Paul’s determination, then “The Lord’s will be done.”
As we follow the Lord Jesus, we will suffer. The world won’t understand us and our determination to follow the Lord Jesus. The world will want us to do something different. The world will want us to make a difference. So, we will suffer when we go against the world. But, do we want the Lord’s will to be done?
No matter what the future holds, I pray that people will say about this church: “The Lord’s will be done.” For then it will be known that members of this church were willing to live and die for the Lord Jesus.